Laidlaw International Inc., the largest bus company in North America, said Thursday its fiscal third-quarter profit grew 16%, as strong performance from its Greyhound bus line helped offset rising fuel costs.
The Naperville-based company also said it will use all proceeds of a new $500 million debt facility to repurchase stock, increasing its gross debt to nearly $800 million.
Net income grew to $34.1 million, or 35 cents per share, from $29.4 million, or 29 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $860.7 million from $836.1 million.
Income from continuing operations totaled 44 cents per share, the company said. Analysts were expecting a profit of 51 cents per share on sales of $849 million, according to Thomson Financial.
``The strong performer was clearly Greyhound, which has benefited from the completion of their network overhaul, fare increases and the focus on improving the quality of their service,'' said President and Chief Executive Kevin E. Benson.
Also helping the quarter's performance was higher revenue at its school-bus unit and a stronger Canadian dollar.
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